Buying your Westchester home in 2015 – sticker shock in a sellers market

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Its that time of year again.  Home buyers with young families are venturing into the Westchester NY housing market, hoping to secure new digs in time for the next school year.  I know, I know, September seems a long way away, but if a family is truly in the market to purchase a home before the end of summer,  now is the time to start the search.

Westchester is one of the most expensive communities in the United States.  So it comes as no small surprise that many home buyers are blown off their feet by sticker shock.

The great buyers market is soooooo 2011…

What does surprise me is how many of these  buyers still think that we are in a strong buyers market. Unfortunately, that is soooooo 2011 and we are now in a what should be considered a seller’s market.  Prices are appreciating again, this time in an orderly sane way and inventories are low.  These are the earmarks of a good sellers market, not a buyers market.

One of the things I say over and over again to my buyer clients is this:  Markets are driven by supply and demand.  They are seldom fair and they have no mercy.  As such, I can not manufacture a market for you. What I can do is help you make the best of the market you find yourselves in.

So what does a buyer do?

Bear in mind that above all else, that the housing market has its own mind.  For those who are old enough to remember Star Trek, the housing market is something like the Borg collective.   The Borg would always intone “Resistance is futile”.   This has a different application when it comes to housing of course.  But the idea is the somewhat similar.  The market as a whole has its own mind.  It collectively sets the value of real estate.  An individual buyer or seller is going to have a terrible time bucking this market individually.  This was always true to a large extent, but it is even more true today in our web 2.0 world where information on recent sales prices is just a mouse-click away.

Given this reality, there are several things home buyers need to consider:

1. Don’t be a afraid of this market.  Its not a bad market to be in. Not by a long shot. The market may be a sellers market, but that doesn’t make it a bad market for buyers.  Housing market cycles are not  like the stock market.  Housing has a history of long cycles.  If history is any guide (and it usually is)  we are still near the beginning of a steady bull market.  This is a far safer market to invest in than the casino that we have witnessed in the recent past.

2.  Compromise – its not a dirty word.  Can you make do with one less bathroom, or without that big bonus room?  Couples especially need to come to terms with each other’s vision of what they really need.  Each side needs to understand the other and be somewhat flexible.  This includes an honest assessment of what is a need versus what is a want. Truth be told, almost every buyer that I have ever worked with has wished that they had an additional $50-$100k to work with. Doesn’t matter what the price range is.  Its human nature to want “more” than you can have at the moment.

3. Does waiting make sense?  Think this over carefully.  Waiting may work if you need to save for a bigger down payment  or if your family size is dictating a bigger house than you can possibly afford at this time.  But remember that this is an appreciating market and housing markets appreciate over years, not months. So if you are waiting for prices to come down, you are probably in for a very long wait.   So unless you can save a significant sum fairly rapidly or you are expecting a major increase in your income, this might not work out the way you want it to.

4. One of the best things a buyer can do when they find a house that they really want to purchase is to put themselves in the shoes of the seller.  What would you do if you were the seller? If you want make a lowball bid, how do you think you would respond if you were the seller?  Try not to forget that almost every seller has a large portion of their life-savings tied up in their home.  At the end of the day, it is often their entire financial security that is on the line.  In the long buyers market that we just emerged from, such considerations didn’t matter so much.  Buyers got used to calling all the shots.  But as the market has slowly turned from bear to bull, that has changed.  The buyer who considers the sellers stake in the game is more likely to be successful in the long run.

Just remember, an appreciating market is not a bubble. It is not a bad thing at all to buy into.  A market that is going up in an orderly way is a “safer” market than we have experienced in recent years.  Make no mistake, if the past is any indication of the future, buyers can do very well for themselves in this sort of market.

© 2015 – Ruthmarie G. Hicks – – All rights reserved.

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Please feel free to contact me anytime to request additional information or to set up an appointment so we can explore your listing or purchasing needs. I am easy to reach by phone, text or email. Or, if you just want to continue your search online, the links below will help you get started.

Phone/Text: 914-374-5529


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